Ex Luto considers the migratory path of the Lotus and the wisdom this plant might offer us today. The performance... Read More
Ex Luto considers the migratory path of the Lotus and the wisdom this plant might offer us today. The performance takes place as a trance like meditation with a dancer wearing the woven botanical form as a costume and gently spins using their hands to signal the stages of the lotus bloom.
Woven with Ikat weavers in the Siem Reap Province of Cambodia with fourteen plants of both indigenous and non-indigenous origin, the wearable piece celebrates the timeless nature of plant traditions and plant wisdom in a world rapidly turning its back on botanical heritage. Many of the Khmer peoples today still depend on the plant world for everyday use, learning and practising traditional knowledges and adapting these principles to experiment with introduced species in a manner of both survival and cultural integrity. I was fortunate to spend time learning from and sharing this project with weavers of the Ikat tradition.
The Lotus is a plant who's image and wisdom has inspired an ancient line of song, dance, spiritual and cultural traditions from Egypt to Northern Australia. Nelumbo Nucifera, the sacred lotus is farmed throughout Asia and revered on a global scale. The patterns of the plant have been engaged as part of numerous spiritual teachings, particularly within Buddhist traditions. The practices follow the structures of the plants facets, with enlightenment symbolised by the flower in full bloom. The Apsara dance tradition similarly engages the symbolic stages of the plant through a gestural language, communicated through the hands. With Ex Luto, we look beyond the stages referenced through spiritual traditions and encompass the whole cycle of the plant, including the transformation of the flower to a pod and the return of the seeds to the mud.
The Lotus is renowned for its ability to lie dormant in the mud for thousands of years. Ex Luto translates to 'coming out of mourning' and at this very time we have a choice to move with the cosmic and earthen wisdom or to bury ourselves in the mud of climatic disaster. This performance offers a meditation and a celebration of our reciprocity with plants, to be found in our collective history, and thankfully still with many cultures who continue to practice plant traditions today. The performance aims to inspire our interrelationship with the natural world as the timeless path towards an enlightened future, guiding us from the deathly tight rope we currently tread.
This piece is on display within the Mekong Ganga Textile Museum in Siem Reap.
*There is no film of the performance available as it was designed to be directly experienced in a sacred capacity